As an architect or urban designer, how do you represent "smart city" technology? Something that deals with environmental conditions, government bureaucracies, and endless data streams as well as public space, human movement, and architecture? Governments and businesses are rushing to develop and implement these technologies, making this a pressing challenge for any designer seeking to represent contemporary cities. Control Syntax Rio at the Storefront for Art and Architecture offers its own evocative approach by avoiding the all-too-familiar format of wall-mounted photos, diagrams, and timelines. Instead, Control Syntax Rio uses an enormous streetscape model whose detailed tableaus—animated by sound effects, film, and vibrations—immerse visitors in a complex and unique piece of smart city command-and-control infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro. Control Syntax Rio was designed and curated by two Columbia GSAPP faculty members: Farzin Lotfi-Jam, principal at multidisciplinary studio farzinfarzin, and Mark Wasiuta, co-director of the GSAPP's CCCP program. The pair were tasked with creating an exhibition on Rio de Janerio's Centro de Operações Rio (The Center of Operations Rio, abbreviated to "COR") by the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. The institute had been organizing a series of exhibits and events around the theme of the Olympics and the COR was developed to prepare Rio de Janeiro for hosting the 2016 Summer Olympic games. As Wasiuta told The Architect's Newspaper (AN), the city's "topography, infrastructure, population distribution, disparities between the formalized and informalized parts" make it difficult to manage. "The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wanted Rio to develop something like the center of operations, in order to demonstrate... that they were capable of managing the metabolism of the city." At the heart of the COR are a series of "if, then" statements—an algorithm that originated from IBM—that govern how the city responds to escalating levels of crises. The system first detects and categorizes a disruption (which range from quotidian "incident" and "event" to "emergency" and "crisis") then coordinates a response. Along this spectrum falls everything from traffic jams and peaceful gatherings to police actions, earthquakes, and landslides. Complicating Farzin and Wasiuta's task was that this system isn't hidden from the public eye: in addition to serving as a management device, the COR is a public relations tool aimed at Rio's residents and the IOC. The COR is how this smart city "sees itself, how it portrays that image of ongoing information extraction and control, how it portrays that image back to its residents and an international audience.... A representation producing device and mechanism for the city," said Wasiuta. Farzin and Wasiuta grappled with how to represent the COR in its dual functions. To tackle both challenges, Farzin said they created two intertwined "paths" to follow in the exhibition's model. One is physical: a single street leads the visitor through a series of events, emergencies, etc., that are frozen in time. Placed at eye-level (some may have to go on their tippy-toes), the model immerses you in each scene. Opposite the model is twenty monitors that depict the second "path," the algorithm itself. Half the monitors show a live feed streamed by small surveillance cameras trained on the model. film set. We wanted it to read that way more than an object." The end result is a fascinating depiction of the COR and how the COR depicts itself, all rolled into one. Thankfully, the exhibition is not a fetishistic enterprise of documenting the actual COR in all its high-tech, "situation room" glory. Instead, it takes us inside how the COR thinks and evokes how it would like to be seen—methodical, calm, and efficient in reacting to disruption. (It did make me wonder, however: What happens when technology enables cities to be proactive, even aggressive, in preventing disaster? When algorithms and controls shape how we use the cities, subtly or otherwise, to either prevent disasters or increase efficiencies?) Ultimately, the definition and practice of "smart cities" are still up in the air. Farzin and Wasiuta are currently looking at a project in South Korea that's built from the ground-up with smart city tech; it's a very different exercise as compared to retrofitting an old city like Rio de Janeiro. But faced with this specific urban condition in Rio de Janeiro, one where narrative and self-representation are critical, the pair eschewed a standard exhibition format. "We made a conscious decision not to be didactic or documentary in the sense that one might be," said Wasiuta. "Which isn't to say those projects can be amazing. But it was a conscious experiment to position the research within that space of representation and ask, 'What's still legible within that?'" Control Syntax Rio runs from March 28th to May 20th, 2017 at the Storefront for Art and Architecture (97 Kenmare St, New York, NY). It was originally commissioned by the Rotterdam-based organization Het Nieuwe Instituut, where it was on view from June 2016 to January 2017.
Posts tagged with "Rio de Janeiro":
Zaha Hadid, with Arup and Mello Affonso Engineering, is executing her first project in South America. Casa Atlantica is a luxury residential building in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro. According to ARUP, Casa Atlantica was originally planned as a luxury hotel but changed to a residential building in order to meet the region's urban standards. The client, Brazilian entrepreneur Omar Peres, gave Hadid complete design liberty. She was, however, governed by strict requirements on height and proximity to neighbors. Zaha Hadid Architects' explained their response to these constraints: "Working within site restrictions governing the height and distance from adjacent buildings, Casa Atlantica's design establishes a fluid order defined by its structure which morphs and expands at each level to create balconies, while also dividing each floor into separate residential units." Casa Atlanta will be 18,000 feet-squared, have 12 floors, feature a rooftop swimming pool, and reach approximately 130 feet in height. Construction is set to begin in March. For further information, visit Zaha Hadid Architects' project page here.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…. it’s a soaring, white Calatrava design in Rio de Janeiro. The Museu do Amanhã (The Museum of Tomorrow) opens December 18 on Maua Pier in the up-and-coming Puerto Maravilha neighborhood. Inspired by the endemic Carioca culture, "The idea is that the building feels ethereal, almost floating on the sea, like a ship, a bird or a plant. Because of the changing nature of the exhibits, we have introduced an archetypal structure inside the building. This simplicity allows for the functional versatility of the museum, able to accommodate conferences or act as a research space," Santiago Calatrava said in a press release. The museum’s content will focus on answering five questions: Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we? Where are we going? And how do we want to live together over the next 50 years? The 5,3820-square-foot structure is surrounded by an additional 8,1806-square-foot plaza that wraps around and extends out to the water, connecting it to the Guanabara Bay. A cantilevered roof extends into 246- and 148-foot-long overhangs facing the square and the bay respectively. Constructed in relation to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sao Bento Monastery, the height of the building was capped at 32 feet to protect the view monastery’s views of the surrounding landscape. In the museum, Calatrava created multiple opportunities for panoramic views of the monastery. The Museu do Amanhã is oriented on a north-south axis to create additional outdoor space along the pier for gardens, paths, green spaces, and a reflection pool. The pool will be used to filter water that is pumped in from the bay and then released back in. Water from the bay will also be used to regulate the building’s temperature, while solar panels will generate energy for the museum. A permanent exhibition, located on the second floor, will be curated by physicist and cosmologist Luiz Alberto Oliveira and designed by Ralph Appelbaum with Andrés Clerici. In addition, there will be temporary exhibitions, a 400-seat auditorium, a cafe, a restaurant, a gift shop, an educational lab, and the Observatory of Tomorrow, which will be a place for technological and scientific research. "The city of Rio de Janeiro is setting an example to the world of how to recover quality urban spaces through drastic intervention and the creation of cultural facilities,” Calatrava said in a press release.
When it comes to a famous landmark, to what extent does locale add to its majesty? An inventive design competition posted to Australian virtual design studio DesignCrowd explored this question with a challenge to designers to reposition the world’s most hyped monuments in all-new locations using high-resolution images. Designers were tasked with making the extrication of the Big Ben look believable, inserting in its place the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, or the Great Wall of China. The first-place accolade went to a Photoshop-aholic who had supplanted Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral in place of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Snagging second place was a seamless overlay of the Roman Colosseum where the Sydney Opera House had once stood. Meanwhile, another designer made the Sydney Opera House seem a natural addition to the Thames riverfront overlooked by the London Eye. Another creative effort saw the Hollywood sign superimposed on the hills along which the Great Wall of China undulates. The design brief, posted to the crowdsourced graphic design bidding site, received 92 designs from 25 designers.
INSA, as the undercover street artist is cryptically known, is the net generation’s equivalent of the legendary graffiti artist Banksy. While INSA’s doodles also dapple the walls of buildings in London as well as around the world, the artist creates GIFs—or “GIF-ITIs” as he calls them—based on photographs of his own graffiti paintings. He shoots these over and over with slight alterations in each frame in a technique not unlike stop motion animation until he can make a loop of images—essentially what a GIF, or Graphic Interchange Format, is. In a cyber wasteland of GIFs composed of cat pictures and film snippets, INSA’s artistic “GIF-ITIs” have made waves online. Recently, Scotch whiskey brand Ballantine's commissioned INSA to create the world’s largest GIF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, inspired by INSA’s trademark "Looking For Love" motif. Four days of work, a 20-person team of painters and over 619,000 square feet worth of paint went into creating a mural of repeating yellow and pink hearts. The mural was then photographed over two days with a camera-equipped satellite orbiting 430 miles above the earth. Given the massive wherewithal that went into the project, the result is a little underwhelming—to say nothing of the fact that it’s only viewable online. The end result is an animation of moving hearts with the before-and-after shots of boats pulling in and out of the harbor and the receding sunlight reflected on the water. INSA’s GIF-ITIs have even inspired an iPhone app, which enables the user to point the iPad at a GIF-ITI and watch it animate on-screen. Take a look at some of INSA's other work below.
With 2014 quickly receding into history, here's a look at what blog posts AN's readers clicked on most last month. Big international stories, many with starchitects attached, abounded in New York, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, and Rio de Janeiro. All of December's top stories point toward the future, with many under-construction projects that will be sure to dominate additional headlines this year. Here's a glimpse at what was in the news. 1. Here’s how Santiago Calatrava’s New York City transit hub got its enormous $4 billion price tag. With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. Read more. 2. Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Read more. 3. LA’s Westside Urban Forum hands Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor Darth Vader Awards. It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. Read more. 4. One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki. Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. Read more. 5. Zaha Hadid’s first Brazilian project ups the level of luxury on Rio’s beachfront. Zaha Hadid will lend her futuristic style to the strip along the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, with an 11-story luxury condo building, dubbed Casa Atlântica—the first project in Brazil for the London-based architect. Read more.
Zaha Hadid will lend her futuristic style to the strip along the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, with an 11-story luxury condo building, dubbed Casa Atlântica—the first project in Brazil for the London-based architect. Newly released renderings show a soaring, spine-shaped facade reaching up to roughly 136 feet, abutting two other high-rises. The building will consist of 30 apartment units, each including 6-star hotel services, in addition to a spa, cinema, and rooftop pool with views of the beach and of the iconic Burle Max–designed promenade. The project, commissioned by Brazilian businessman Omar Peres, is only steps away from other high profile projects, such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Museum of Image and Sound. Construction is slated for the spring of 2015.